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Springboard Forward: Winner's Statement

Social Capitalists

Springboard Forward

A job is just the beginning...

Award-winning ally helps low-wage workers discover their potential: Springboard Forward teaches low-wage workers to launch careers and lift themselves out of poverty by working directly with their employers. In 2003, SBF provided employment and advancement services to over 250 low-wage and entry-level workers through a variety of customized programs and services. In partnership with employers like Home Depot, Stanford University, and the City of Palo Alto, we currently serve clients primarily in Silicon Valley.

Our innovative strategy has earned national recognition. We received a prestigious Ashoka award this spring, given to the nation's top social entrepreneurs. Last year, Springboard Forward (SBF) was named to Fast Company magazine's Top 40 Social Entrepreneurship Firms in the US; and in 2003, SBF won the Silicon Valley HR Symposium's Top Award for Innovation.

A job is not enough... Our on-the-job services build plans for advancement At Springboard, a job is just the beginning. Our unusual approach comes from understanding what workers need to build successful careers and good incomes after they land a job. While job training and placement programs move the unemployed back on to the payroll, job training is not enough. Over 50% of our nation's poor are actually working full-time, but still living in poverty. Most of our clients are single parents, with barely enough income to cover rent and other basic living expenses. For workers like these, the paths out of poverty have become much less apparent. Why? They do not have the transferable "career mobility" skills necessary to move past entry-level jobs into promising new opportunities.

How it works -- coaching for career mobility

Springboard Forward's solution has three unique components:

  • Springboard supplies the missing link by intervening post-placement for advancement, not pre-placement for employment. SBF's programs help workers succeed in their current jobs while using these jobs as stepping-stones out of poverty and into a sustainable career path.
  • Springboard provides coaching for career mobility, not vocational skills training. Employees are paired with coaches who help them learn transferable "career mobility" skills. They become adept at the kind of planning, tenacity, and networking that opens doors. Each employee creates an individual development plan that expresses his or her dreams and lays out specific, concrete steps to move ahead.
  • Springboard's programs are delivered on the job with high employer involvement. For workers to take full advantage of our program and achieve their goals, employers must be part of the solution. Our model creates a "win/win" solution. Employers develop a more engaged and productive workforce, and employees discover new hope for improving their lives through work.

Results -- changed lives and bright futures

Springboard Forward piloted our program in 2003 with low-wage employees and lower-level managers at Stanford University and with the City of Redwood City. Almost all of our individual clients found increased responsibilities and/or promotions, and we achieved an 80% retention rate among individuals placed into jobs in 2003 -- nearly double the industry average!

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The above information was provided by the profiled organization.